The debut album of a collaboration between trombonist Ben Lanz of Beirut and the National's Scott and Bryan Devendorf, LNZNDRF is improvisational in nature and not necessarily what may be imagined for the combination of names involved. The project does share some of the experimental nature (and drum tones) of another of drummer Bryan Devendorf's side projects, Pfarmers (that one with Menomena's David Seim and trombonist Dave Nelson), but inhabits a darker, post-punk sound that recalls bands like the Cure and New Order more than its members' other incarnations. The album's eight tracks -- half of them instrumentals -- were pulled from longer improvisations recorded in a church studio in Cincinnati, Ohio over a span of less than three days. Echoing guitar, insistent bass, and crunchy, driving drums mark the seven-minute instrumental opener "Future You," which, contemporary effects ornamentation aside, recalls the palette of Pornography-era the Cure. The bouncier "Beneath the Black Sea" retains the vibrating guitar tones but lightens the mood with increased tempo, warm keyboards, and a simple, yearning melody with vocals repeating a selection of phrases, including "You watch another slip away/It's you." The aptly titled "Hypno-Skate" is a minimalist rock workout that probably gives the best insight into the full recording sessions, whereas "Monument" is the sparsest track, a reprieve from the wall of sound with conversational vocal delivery à la Bernard Sumner. Altogether, LNZNDRF do their post-punk revivalism very proficiently, from textures to musicianship, creating solid fodder for headphone meditations or basement gatherings of any size.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson